"It seems to me that to organize on the basis of feeding people or righting social injustice and all that is very valuable. But to rally people around the idea of modernism, modernity, or something is simply silly. I mean, I don't know what kind of a cause that is, to be up to date. I think it ultimately leads to fashion and snobbery and I'm against it."
Jack Levine: January 3, 1915 – November 8, 2010
F is for "fascist" FOX, has on that Brit blight on the world, Lord Fa-fa (Neil Farage) to scold Americans on getting upset about those Nazis terrorizing people here when it should be picking a fight will 1.6 billion+ Muslims.
I'm all for getting him and the Brit-Hungarian Nazi, Sebastian Gorka deported back to Britain where they'll be their problems and to keep them both out of a de-Nazified United States. Murdoch should go too, for his role in promoting fascism, white supremacy and Nazism. FOX should lose any broadcasting license it holds on the same basis. A broadcasting code that bans violent hate speech is going to turn out to be necessary to protect democracy. The mass media changed everything except the old habits of thought that should have died with the world based on print on paper. Electronic media, especially mass media, makes those old assumptions dangerously out of date and a tool for those who, like Putin, like Murdoch, like Sinclair want to destroy democracy.
We will adapt to that new reality or democracy will die, replaced by racist, violent, murderous fascism.
The injunction is made, who cares where it comes down, “That's not my department,” says the ACLU
after Tom Lehrer The habit of non-thought on the left that holds the ACLU is beyond any kind of criticism is really stupid in so far as they have been instrumental in a list of things which have made things worse. They, in their "free speech" absolutist purity have:
- Supported Supreme Court rulings which have led to the most effective means of propaganda, the mass media, to lie with impunity about liberal politicians. The corporate networks who control what most people hear as something like news is certainly not in control of liberals and they have used their impune "free speech" to tell the most outrageous lies about such politicians as the Kennedys, the Clintons, and a steady stream of Democratic challengers to Republicans. The ruling of 1964 allowing the media to lie has had the effect of steadily driving American politics to the right, putting ever more right-wing people on the Supreme Court, forcing even liberal politicians into governing ever farther to the right.
- Supported the rights of fascists, Nazis, white supremacists to rally and organize even as those groups and their propaganda corrupt people into opposing equality and democracy and target entire races and ethnicities, LGBT people, and, of course, Jews, with messages up to and including incitement to murder.
From the real life results of that, its impact in the lives of real people, in our politics, in the damage it has done to egalitarian democracy, I've concluded:
- Anyone who claims that a book, such as the Turner Diaries, which was written by the Nazi, William L. Pierce to foment the murders of those it targets, is not identified as such, beyond any rational doubt and which has, in fact, inspired fascists and Nazis and white supremacists to murder people and, so dangerous speech which any rationally governed democracy would rightly suppress, must not be because a bunch of white slave owners in the 1780s wrote the First Amendment in ridiculously vague and inspecific language have forfeited their right to be taken seriously or to have their opinions on such matters respected by reasoning people of good will.
- Any group which made the various and shifting stands on the rallies in Charlottesville, both the one last weekend and the earlier one in July, talking out of both sides of its mouth to enable the KKK and Nazis, minimizing the potential for people to get killed in the way the ACLU of Virginia did, is a group which has forfeited all of the trust that people have put in it through the ACLU's successful propagandizing of the left which it has played such a role in harming.
The repute the ACLU is held in is based on some idiotic game of calling its refusal to responsibly admit that there are ideas which are dangerous to egalitarian democracy and that enabling those ideas, especially those which tell lies that end up in getting people killed is some kind of perverted idea of a virtue.
You can only take that as a virtue if you are part of a group, mostly rich, white, mostly male mostly lawyers who are generally not the kind of people targeted by Nazis, fascists, white supremacists, the KKK, etc. and, what do you know, the members of the legal profession, the judicial class, comprise mostly those kinds of people. The members of the Supreme Court have been, by an overwhelming majority, NOT the kinds of people targeted by violent hate groups. The mostly straight, white, male, upper-middle class to affluent members of the Supreme Court, listening to lawyers who are mostly the same, reading past members of courts and law scholars, mostly the same, are the ones who strike the poses and make the rulings that constitute the legal tradition in this country. I think we have reached the point where the Supreme Court poses the greatest threat to egalitarian democracy. That was on display in the court decision allowing the Nazis to rally in accordance with their preference over the demonstrable threat to public safety that posed, on the basis of the similar event in July.
I am sure, based on that long tradition that such lawyers and such judges, feel some frisson of virtuousness when they advocate that position and hand down such rulings, buoyed by the language of Holmes and others. I even think they might feel some perverse satisfaction in having committed that action most bizarrely held as a virtue, permitted the most dangerous and potentially murderous speech by people who held the most murderously anti-democratic of insane ideas. I can only imagine such a crazy idea being considered a virtue by people who didn't have any reason to suspect they would be the ones targeted by such people, no sane person who had that expectation would hold it to be any kind of good or necessary thing. Anyone who is the target of such speech would have to rationally consider it a clear and present danger to their lives and rights and freedom.. And any rational person would consider a judge or Justice who permitted that, any lawyer who advocated them endangering them and their loved one evil and ready to sacrifice them on their altar of First Amendment purity.
The pose that judges can't determine those obvious things, that they can't judge the character of those things and their dangers is ridiculous, as that is something they do in far harder cases whenever large amounts of money are contested on highly technical issues. The case of the Nazis, the KKK, fascists, white supremacists and others such as now have a place in the White House, and those they intend to deprive of their rights, even those enumerated in the Constitution, even of their right as full citizens of the United states, even their lives is not a hard one. It is only when the rights and lives of minority groups is targeted that the courts and lawyers play so dumb as to claim that it is dangerous for their judgement to be trusted.
What I think we need, if they are so stupid, so incapable of giving us and our rights safety is a new set of laws with lawyers and judges who aren't so stupid and incapable of putting today's egalitarian democracy, the equal rights of living people above their long standing pretenses and traditions and the words of 18th century rich, white, male, slave holders. Obviously the ones ruling us into violence and fascism aren't up to that job.
The left needs alternative representation, the left needs to dump the ACLU.
I read the article in Newsweek about the criticism of the Charlottesville police not providing security for a Synagog which was named in Nazi propaganda encouraging Nazis to burn it down and if an investigation into it shows that the police were negligent, there should be consequences for that failure. But the police had tried to prevent the rally from happening in the way it did and, I'm certain, that many, perhaps most of the police would have rather it didn't happen at all. Just as I'm reading criticism of the police and the local and state politicians, I'm reading very little in the way of criticism for the judges, justices and lawyers who permitted it to happen as it did, in the way the Nazis wanted it to, where it happened and when it happened.
But police and local and even state resources aren't infinite, they aren't and can't be pretended to be 100% efficacious in protecting us, especially when they are hemmed in from doing so by lawyers and judges, even against the best will and experience of the police. Even when the people they are supposed to protect us against are armed with automatic weapons that lawyers and judges have made it legal for them to have. There has been some criticism of the criticism of the ACLU from the media jerks who have a knee jerk "can do nothing wrong" attitude toward the ACLU because of its past, successful PR. It's really a bad idea to let that kind of PR turn into a habit that shields groups that go to court to enable Nazis the KKK and white supremacists, the gun industry, the gun nuts, the billionaires who, having with the ACLU's help had their billions of dollars declared protected "speech", etc. Really, when do the lawyers who make up the ACLU have to answer for their history of enabling the worst of the worst WHICH DOESN'T MAKE UP IN ANY WAY FOR THE "OTHER SIDE" ADVOCACY THEY DO. Glenn Greenwald, with all of his baggage in enabling the election of Trump, etc. his cosy relationship with people associated with Putin, was one of the typical jerks who holds up the ACLU as beyond reproach and above criticism. You can look up that jerk yourself if you need verification.
In looking at stuff to prepare for writing this post, I came across this headline, with at Charlottesville, VA byline,
ACLU criticizes ‘militaristic’ police response at KKK protest
which I had to rub my eyes at, though, reading the story, it was from the police response to a KKK rally in Charlottesville in July. several weeks before they joined with the right-wing Rutherford Institute on behalf of the Nazis last week. You might consider who they were criticizing for trying to keep the public order in Charlottesville last month with what's being said now.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia and other groups are asking Gov. Terry McAuliffe to investigate police’s response when protesters gathered in Charlottesville to condemn a Ku Klux Klan rally. The ACLU, Legal Aid Justice Center, Rutherford Institute and National Lawyers Guild Central Virginia Chapter sent a letter to McAuliffe this week criticizing what they called the “outsized and militaristic” police presence to the July 8 protest. About 1,000 protesters showed up near the Charlottesville park where a small group of Klansman planned a rally. In the letter, the groups questioned the appropriateness of police’s use of tear gas and riot gear, among other things. They say the “aggressive display” didn’t help deescalate tensions between protesters and Klansman.
The groups sent a similar letter to Charlottesville officials.
The injunction was filed early Friday by civil rights organizations American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia and the Albemarle County-based Rutherford Institute. “Based on the current record, the court concludes that Kessler has shown that he will likely prove that the decision to revoke his permit was based on the content of his speech,” Conrad wrote. “Kessler’s assertion in this regard is supported by the fact that the city solely revoked his permit but left in place the permits issued to counter-protestors.” Conrad said information presented at the hearing indicated the city’s decision was “based on the content of his speech” rather than public safety factors.
Considering what happened, that was obviously not true, the ACLU and the other lawyers, as they so often do in this, minimized the danger of what they were advocating.
You should read the whole article in light of what happened, remembering the ACLU complaints about the police after the earlier rally. Here is what the ACLU spokesman said after the injunction was issued but before what happened as a result of their advocacy.
“We are grateful that the court recognized that the First Amendment applies equally to everyone, regardless of their views,” said Claire Gastañaga, ACLU of Virginia executive director. “We hope that the city will focus tomorrow on managing the expected crowds using de-escalation tactics and flexibility, and avoid the kind of over-militarized response that was mounted on July 8,” she said. “We encourage everyone participating to commit to nonviolence and peaceful protest. We will be there to observe and document police practices as we were on July 8 and at other rallies and protests across Virginia since January and before.”
And now it's the police, city officials and the Governor who are taking the heat and not the lawyers and judges who are most responsible for creating the conditions that led to violence.
The impunity that lawyers, those of the Rutherford Institute, of the ACLU, of other, lesser parts of the "free speech" industry who go to court to enable the opponents of equality and democracy and who would, as mentioned earlier this morning, sweep aside the First Amendment as soon as they took power, needs to end. The ACLU is one of those groups which have been far too successful in turning themselves into a sacrosanct institution when they are just a bunch of lawyers with an ideological position which, when it clashes with reality, they will refuse to take responsibility for the results.
I said "no more after Skokie" and they've been doing worse, enabling worse, since then. They are advocates for Nazis and white supremacists. They need to own up to that.
Update: Contrast what the same ACLU lawyers are saying now, trying to have it every which way, depending on what resulted from their advocacy.
These people, this ACLU, have essentially the same sense of personal responsibility as Donald Trump, always trying to put the responsibility for what they did on other people. They don't deserve support, they don't deserve donations, they don't deserve to be taken as responsible people.
Given what they are, what their history of terrorism and murder here as well as in their main place in history in Germany, Austria and the rest of Europe was, given that their definitional ideology is based on genocides that will leave one poorly defined ethnicity the master race......
Tell me why anyone who is willing to make a bet on allowing them to exist as a group and to propagate their ideas WHEN WE ARE SEEING THEM GAIN STRENGTH AS THEY DID IN GERMANY IN THE 1920s AND 30s is not insane. We have a regime in the White House which not only covers for them, it hires them to work in the government. How much more ascendent does a horrible idea have to be before such idiots realize we've got a mighty big problem here and now?
As I answered one of the Nazis useful idiots last night about their useful idiots in the ACLU and the "free speech absolutist" industry, anyone who holds that it is necessary or safe to allow genocidal ideologies with a history of the kind of success the Nazis have had in producing murders, maimings and terror here and elsewhere even as that long bet on them never gaining the upper hand does, is insane.
It would be useful for such "free speech" absolutists to look more closely at what really motivated the man around who a myth, somewhat less gaudy but no less unreal and hypocritical was raised around, Oliver Wendell Holmes jr. and his "free speech" ideology. His reasoning included one of his favorite ideas, the idea that Darwinian struggle, even that which endangered the further existence of democracy was invigorating because he really did believe in the survival of the fittest, on that we have his own words and the testimony of one of his closest confidants and his secretary, Judge Francis Biddle*, the chief American judge at the Nuremberg trials. The Nazis defense lawyers used the words of Oliver Wendell Holme jr. in making their defense before the court. Just as, no doubt, the ACLU and the Rutherford Institute and others arguing before courts might make recourse to his ideas which are based in the same eugenics that the Nazis, certainly the American Nazis have claimed give their racism, their anti-Semitism, their claims of the socially salubrious effects that killing off those they deem inferior to them will have. As I have pointed out this past week, there is no doubt about today's American Nazis basing their racism in Darwin and his inner circle and today's Sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology, because they claim the scientific nature of their Nazism on that basis.
You can make the excuse for Holmes, who died in 1935, that he didn't live long enough to see where Nazism would take the ideas of the fittest surviving a violent struggle for existence. Though he, no doubt, saw Nazism rising in Europe as he was in his last years. He didn't see the possibility of such an ideology in its full horror and evil. He certainly must have known about another anti-democratic ideology at work in the Soviet Union, he lived well into the reign of Stalin and, no doubt, kept abreast of developments under Lenin.
We don't have that excuse. The idea that American democracy, egalitarian democracy will always prevail and so we must allow Nazism to have a chance to propagate and flourish and kill a few people here and there, and there and there.... and a lot of people in places like the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building... is safe and some kind of perverted virtue - a virtue which does, actually, get people killed - is insane and one of the most disgustingly irresponsible negligences of moral responsibility ever taken by legal professionals and an allegedly educated class.
That the men gathered to write the Constitution had no idea that such ideologies as Nazism and Marxism could be invented, gain power and murder tens of millions of people, overtaking nascent attempts at democracy, such as in the Weimar Republic and the post-Czarist, pre-Soviet period in Russia and brutally imposing dictatorial rule doesn't merely give them an excuse from moral short sightedness, it is a danger sign that their expression of rights doesn't fit our far different times. They had no means of foreseeing a United States ruled by men who had no sense of honor and that the institutions they created could be so gamed and corrupted so as to leave a Donald Trump in office for even six months, put there by the efforts of a foreign despot who made George III look positively level headed and benevolent. Their "First Amendment" is, like their Second Amendment dangerously inspecific because they had no idea how courts and lawyers would twist it in accordance to ideologies that hadn't been invented yet. But we don't have that excuse of ignorance. Nor do we seem to have the courage or stamina or moral responsibility to come up with language that will keep us safe from Nazis or fascists or white supremacists. As I also pointed out last night, Marxists, on whose behalf so much of the recent "free speech absolutism" seems to have been invented were never any practical danger because there was never any way they would benefit as they hoped to from that ideology - which, like Nazis, they would have swept aside without blushing if they'd gained power.
Oh, yes, don't forget white supremacists, many of whom wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which Constitution led us directly, through slavery into a civil war and under which for 76 years Black people were held as chattels as slaves, subjected to a denial of equal rights and lynched for many, many more years than that, Native People were slaughtered and robbed of their lands, women denied the vote, and many other minority groups deprived of their rights. That white supremacist ideology was and still is embedded in that Constitution which we also don't have the moral character to change to make a document truly and honestly one which produces egalitarian democracy. White supremacy is and has been our domestic form of something like Nazism all through our history. To believe that can't make a comeback in an even more oppressive and destructive form is sheer idiocy and or moral depravity, especially among those with university and advanced degrees. To ignore that pre-Nazi form of domestic, American danger to equality and its history among us is even more evidence of the stupidity and dishonesty and moral irresponsibility of these Constitutional ideologies, today.
White Americans are just beginning to understand that the interpretations of our Constitution which enable Nazis can, actually, be used to deny our rights in the way that is no shock to Black Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, and others, including the largest group of the subjugated of all, women. The last group to learn that will be the affluent White Men who are the majority in the legal profession, the law school faculties** who train them, the courts, who control and staff the media and who impose the limits within which ideas are to be deemed acceptable.
* We also have the observations of one one of Holmes other friends though, in this case his ideological opponent, one of the greatest American philosophers in our history, William James, who tried to talk his friend out of his extreme faith in Darwinism and, especially the eugenic form of it which Holmes based his infamous Buck v. Bell decision on. As I've pointed out before, Holmes believed that allowing the propagation of even the most anti-democratic ideas was healthy, he didn't, though, believe there was any reason for a woman - who was, actually of normal intelligence - to make the decision to have a baby. That was because Holmes, as a disciple of Darwin, didn't believe in that level of equality.
** The training of even those lawyers and judges who are members of groups which have been the target of our domestic white, male supremacist ideology acculturates them into a set of ideological positions which effectively bans the idea that the current ideologies in the law are not sufficient to protect Americans from ideas such as Nazism. The conservative nature of the law retains the effects of affluent, white, male supremacy as a matter of course. I think one thing the case that allowed the Nazis to name the venue and time of their rally which led to the carnage of last weekend shows that people with practical experience in policing and administering a city or state government will often have more realistic ideas about the consequences that such judicial-legal theorizing leads to. The Supreme Court, staffed by those trained and rising in the conservative culture of the law are probably, in most cases, the least equipped level of government to be realistic about this danger. And they set the ideological boundaries. And many of them sitting on that court, now, have proven records of partisan manipulation of those boundaries.
You tell me that that idiot is trolling my blog while he's on vacation again? Which world city is he avoiding seeing while he looks at his screen? Geesh, if I were on vacation I wouldn't be here*. I guess it didn't occur to him that he might have saved money by doing that from home. *But, then, I don't take vacations.
The Nazi rally in Charlottesville and the violence of it were a product of the legal profession and members of the judiciary. They permitted it to go on. They are not, though, the ones who are taking heat for a situation they created.
When will the ACLU and other lawyers, the judges and justices who are the ones who created the nightmare scenario in which police have to try to keep NAZIS LEGALLY CARRYING AUTOMATIC WEAPONS and others contained. What if a policeman had had to discharge his or her weapon on someone who was about to kill someone. With all of those people in that state of frenzy, some of them reportedly carrying higher capacity weapons than the police, there could have been a complete and total blood bath on the streets with who knows how many dead?
It's decades past the time that the ACLU, the Rutherford Institute and other law shops who go to court to let people own and carry automatic weapons and Nazi marches to have to pay a price for their part in this. The impunity from investigation and criticism of them because they happen to have a license to practice law is one of the stupidest habits of non-thinking we have.
It was particularly galling to me to read Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern write:
Most civil libertarians (us included) believe the court got the Skokie case right. But it’s increasingly clear that Skokie can’t always help courts figure out how to deal with a post-Heller, post–“stand your ground” white nationalist protest. Whatever the courts were attempting to protect in the Skokie case wasn’t protected in Charlottesville. The marchers in Skokie didn’t promise to bring guns and armed militias to protect themselves.
as if it was a secret what the Nazis were all about in 1977, thirty-two years after the fall of the Third Reich.
Well, "most civil libertarians" weren't the targets of the Nazis, they weren't the ones who had the most to fear from them, neither were the members of state and federal Supreme Courts. I think the habit o of privilege that come with having judiciaries, the faculties of law schools, largely composed of affluent white people of the kind who have had the luxury of expecting that they are not going to be the ones attacked and killed by Nazis has produced a delusional view of the danger of things like this, one that is established by them in law and which did, in fact, produce the disaster that, not the lawyers, not the judges, but the police and the city and state authorities would have to deal with.
I have pointed out before that the Skokie case, allowing Nazis to terrorize a town where a large number of Holocaust survivors lived was the last straw that broke my support for the ACLU, the beginning of the end of my blindness to what that kind of legal pose really meant. It's way past time for that organization and the legal profession in general to be called on their part in enabling the Nazis, now that they are in the White House and marching on churches full of people with torches and generally terrorizing people.
My sister steered me to listen to the segment on Lawrence O'Donnells show with Eugene Robinson and Yamiche Alcindor. O'Donnell began by noting that, contrary to the post outrage comments of Trump's staff, he clearly came prepared to say what he said supporting Nazis, white supremacists and the KKK. In the discussion with Robinson and Alcindor, the idea that this is some kind of watershed moment that will see Republicans and Trumps allegedly better supporters will not support him and his leading the country into the sewer, it was the younger Yamiche Alcindor who pointed out that since his campaign started, we've had one after another of such incidents which were there was supposed to be some kind of turn around. She noted that after the Access Hollywood tape came out a lot of the same Republicans who made a motion of disavowing Trump then, went right on to support him through even his appointments of Nazis and white supremacists - including Jeff Sessions - and on right up to last weekend. She asked why this wouldn't turn into just one more of those kinds of incidents. I think a lot of media people of my generation are finding it very hard to face the fact that in the country we've got, today, even this kind of thing can be normalized. It reminded me to the days after 9-11, when I was watching a bunch of journalists on Emily Rooney's show on WBGH, when they declared that that now long ago moment was a similar watershed that would usher in more civility and comity and unity into the public discourse. I only remember one of them expressing any skepticism about that. The very experienced journalist Carrie Crossley said she didn't believe it for a second and that things would go right back to where they were the day before. History very, very soon proved her right. Get back to me next week, next month and remind me how this was supposed to be the outrage that is so outrageous that it changed everything. I don't buy it.
No one who is familiar with Donald Trump would believe he invented that argument making an equivalent between Robert E. Lee and George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. It was the creation of the Nazis on his staff, Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka and one of the most bizarre figures in the history of the American government, Stephen Miller, the grandson of Byelorussian Jews who had to flee from that country to the United States but who is a protege of the Nazi, Richard Spencer. I can imagine his grandparents joy at seeing the Statue of Liberty allowing them into the country under the terms of Emma Lazarus. The people who Donald Trump supported with ideas developed and inserted into his empty head would have never wanted Stephen Miller's grandparent in the country, Stephen Miller wouldn't have let them in. Anyway. Robert E. Lee did have a relationship to George Washington through the family of Martha Custis Washington, he married into the Custis family, his wife was Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee. I have read that among the moral indictments against Lee is that he, against long standing family tradition which kept the families of those enslaved by them together, he broke up virtually every family which came into his imprisonment by marriage through selling out their members. Some of them spent the rest of their lives trying to reunite their broken families, many of them never did find their loved ones. The Lee who that stinking statue purports to depict was said to have been hated by the slaves he held for that and for his particularly brutal treatment, including having slaves beaten for hours and then having brine poured into the wounds. When he invaded free soil, in Pennsylvania he stole free Black peoples freedom and sent them into slavery, he permitted and tolerated war crimes against Black United States soldiers during the war. The myth of Robert E. Lee was a PR lie that has covered up the real character of the traitor. It's one of the many myths held by people who should know how to research history, by writers who created and propagated those lies. I will stand second to none in my criticism of Washington and Jefferson and the rest of the "founding fathers" who made, among other things, compromises with the slave power who insisted on things like the notorious 3/5ths rule, the Electoral College, the undemocratic constitution of the Senate, and, yes, the Second Amendment which WAS put there to protect the slave patrols which terrorized slaves, kept them from rising up against their enslavement and which turned into, first, the Confederate military and then the terrorists of the KKK and others which persist till this day. But to say that Washington was the moral equivalent to Robert E. Lee is a lie that is so grotesque it could only be invented by the Nazis who comprise Trump's brain.
Update: One person held in slavery at Mount Vernon we know much about is Oney Maria Judge Staines, (sometimes spelled "Ona), who escaped from slavery while the Washington's lived in Philadelphia and who went to New Hampshire where she resisted the entreaties of the President and his wife to return to slavery. Out of curiosity, this morning, I have tried to figure out through the incestuous interconnections between the Custis and Lee and various other lines of inheritance whether or not Oney Judge Staines would have come under the control of Robert E. Lee or not. I don't think it's unreasonable to suspect that she might have known it was possible he or someone like him would get his hands on her and her children who remained subject to enslavement their entire lives.
Being a waiting maid of Mrs. Washington, she was not exposed to any peculiar hardships. If asked why she did not remain in his service, she gives two reasons, first, that she wanted to be free; secondly that she understood that after the decease of her master and mistress, she was to become the property of a grand-daughter of theirs, by name of Custis, and that she was determined never to be her slave. Being asked how she escaped, she replied substantially as follows, "Whilst they were packing up to go to Virginia, I was packing to go, I didn't know where; for I knew that if I went back to Virginia, I should never get my liberty. I had friends among the colored people of Philadelphia, had my things carried there beforehand, and left Washington's house while they were eating dinner." She came on board a ship commanded by CAPT. JOHN BOLLES, and bound to Portsmouth, N.H. In relating it, she added, "I never told his name till after he died, a few years since, lest they should punish him for bringing me away." Washington made two attempts to recover her. First, he sent a man by the name of Bassett to persuade her to return; but she resisted all the argument he employed for this end. He told her they would set her free when she arrived at Mount Vernon, to which she replied, "I am free now and choose to remain so." Finding all attempts to seduce her to slavery again in this manner useless, Bassett was sent once more by Washington, with orders to bring her and her infant child by force. The messenger, being acquainted with Gov. [then Senator John] Langdon, then of Portsmouth, took up lodgings with him, and disclosed to him the object of his mission. The good old Governor. (to his honor be it spoken), must have possessed something of the spirit of modern anti-slavery. He entertained Bassett very handsomely, and in the meantime sent word to Mrs. Staines, to leave town before twelve o'clock at night, which she did, retired to a place of concealment, and escaped the clutches of the oppressor. Shortly after this, Washington died, and, said she, "they never troubled me any more after he was gone."
I didn't watch many episodes of All In he Family, I didn't think it was funny and I think I'd noticed, even back then, that as Norman Lear and the writers and actors involved in the program were yucking it up over ignorant, blue-collar, schlub, Archie Bunker, that such people didn't interpret the program the way its liberal producers intended. Archie Bunker was considered heroic by a large part of the audience. One of the ones I do remember had the high-lar-i-ous plot of Archie deciding to do his "equal time" (remember the Equal Time provision?) on TV to unintentionally expose his ignorance. When he first encountered the programming director of the station and started spouting to him, the director got on the phone and said something like, "I want you to come in here to hear something before it becomes extinct". As I recall, the studio audience yucked it up over the joke. Only, look at the 20-somethings who were marching with torches last weekend and the comment threads where their like abound. Archie's generation is dead, they're not today's American Nazis.
That joke encompassed the bet I talked about yesterday. The contemporary, quasi-official, real right way to be a liberal back then, including the deregulation of broadcasting (I think the plot was meant as satire of the Equal Time provision, too) free speech, free press absolutism, the smarmily pious declaration that "we must allow the Nazis their free speech lest our free speech right be taken away from us". But that bet, largely made by middle-class, aspiring to be upper class and rich white lawyers, TV and movie writers, journalists,.... was a bet that Nazis and fascists and white supremacists would never win.
The "free speech absolutist" bet only ever made any sense at all if the racists, petty and otherwise, became extinct, if the fascists and the Nazis would never win, if the white supremacists, the opponents of equality and democracy never got the upper hand in American politics, THAT IS THE BET THAT I SAID THAT SUCH LIBERALS LOST AND HAVE BEEN LOSING EVER SINCE THAT BET WAS MADE BY THE WARREN COURT AND THOSE WHO FAVORED THAT GAME. It wasn't a game of poker, it was more like a game of faro, notoriously prone to being rigged and gaffed by whoever was in control of the mechanisms of the game. And if there was something that was obvious at the time, it was that the most powerful media, broadcast TV and radio were there to do the bidding of the wealthy owners and the advertisers. It was a monumentally stupid bet for liberals of my young adulthood to have made, especially those who worked in the very media that they had every reason to know would gaff the game.
It didn't take long after 1964 when that bet was placed for it to become obvious what a terrible idea it was, as someone who worked hard to defeat Nixon in 1968, I saw the media obviously favoring him over Hubert Humphrey, I saw them even more obviously favoring Nixon over George McGovern in 1972, while All In The Family was just going into its second season. Nixon lost under a regulated media and the old libel laws in 1960, he won as the courts scrapped the later and were on their way to loosening the former. The joke was already out of date by the time it was made. And the stupidity of the idea is still the ruling ideology of liberals and pseudo-liberals, today, after we've seen how bad an idea it was for a half a century and counting.
It was a bet to allow the media to lie with impunity, a bet which has gotten steadily worse results, producing a country propagandized and corrupted by the free media into a place that even a Democratic president doesn't dare to govern to the left of where President Eisenhower did. And now it has gotten us a Trump.
Now that we have a president who has put Nazis in the White House, a white supremacist in charge of the Justice Department, who has been doing his best to normalize and defend NAZIS TERRORIZING AND KILLING AND MARCHING WITH TORCHES IN AN AMERICAN CITY IN 2017! it's time to admit that that bet was a stupid idea and that the bet that "they" would never win was wrong. Egalitarian democracy can't exist in a population in which an effective electoral majority believes lies such as the ones being sold in the media about Hillary Clinton and the other lies told about Donald Trump, it can't survive if an effective margin of voters are sold those lies and the history of the last half century proves that, with modern methods of salesmanship and propaganda, those lies can be sold and they can prevail and put people like Donald Trump, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon in power. They can put Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell in charge of the Congress, they can get the likes of Rehnquist and Roberts and their voter suppressing, gun nut favoring, neo-Jim Crow, federalist fascists in charge of the Supreme Court.
We got here through the power of the media to lie with impunity, through free speech absolutism and the deregulation of the mass media. If that isn't changed, if we don't bet on a different idea, egalitarian democracy in the United States is doomed if not already finished. That was an idea of mid-20th century, secular liberalism. Liberals need to make even more basic changes to their thinking, one that admits that half-century of mounting disaster.
- Okay, so how do you propose to stop people killing people? That's easy.
- Bring back the death penalty.
- Excuse me.
- Go ahead.
- Susan, will you have Johnson step in here for a minute? There's something I want him to see before it's extinct.
Reading it, it's even more clueless about the subsequent history of the next forty-five years than I'd remembered when I wrote this post.
by Fredrick Douglass I find, since reading over the foregoing Narrative, that I have, in several instances, spoken in such a tone and manner, respecting religion, as may possibly lead those unacquainted with my religious views to suppose me an opponent of all religion. To remove the liability of such misapprehension, I deem it proper to append the following brief explanation. What I have said respecting and against religion, I mean strictly to apply to the slaveholding religion of this land, and with no possible reference to Christianity proper; for, between the Christianity of this land, and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference — so wide, that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked. To be the friend of the one, is of necessity to be the enemy of the other. I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land. Indeed, I can see no reason, but the most deceitful one, for calling the religion of this land Christianity. I look upon it as the climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds, and the grossest of all libels. Never was there a clearer case of "stealing the livery of the court of heaven to serve the devil in." I am filled with unutterable loathing when I contemplate the religious pomp and show, together with the horrible inconsistencies, which every where surround me. We have men-stealers for ministers, women-whippers for missionaries, and cradle-plunderers for church members. The man who wields the blood-clotted cowskin during the week fills the pulpit on Sunday, and claims to be a minister of the meek and lowly Jesus. The man who robs me of my earnings at the end of each week meets me as a class-leader on Sunday morning, to show me the way of life, and the path of salvation. He who sells my sister, for purposes of prostitution, stands forth as the pious advocate of purity. He who proclaims it a religious duty to read the Bible denies me the right of learning to read the name of the God who made me. He who is the religious advocate of marriage robs whole millions of its sacred influence, and leaves them to the ravages of wholesale pollution. The warm defender of the sacredness of the family relation is the same that scatters whole families, — sundering husbands and wives, parents and children, sisters and brothers, — leaving the hut vacant, and the hearth desolate. We see the thief preaching against theft, and the adulterer against adultery. We have men sold to build churches, women sold to support the gospel, and babes sold to purchase Bibles for the poor heathen! all for the glory of God and the good of souls! The slave auctioneer's bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master. Revivals of religion and revivals in the slave-trade go hand in hand together. The slave prison and the church stand near each other. The clanking of fetters and the rattling of chains in the prison, and the pious psalm and solemn prayer in the church, may be heard at the same time. The dealers in the bodies and souls of men erect their stand in the presence of the pulpit, and they mutually help each other. The dealer gives his blood-stained gold to support the pulpit, and the pulpit, in return, covers his infernal business with the garb of Christianity. Here we have religion and robbery the allies of each other — devils dressed in angels' robes, and hell presenting the semblance of paradise. "Just God! and these are they, Who minister at thine altar, God of right! Men who their hands, with prayer and blessing, lay On Israel's ark of light. "What! preach, and kidnap men? Give thanks, and rob thy own afflicted poor? Talk of thy glorious liberty, and then Bolt hard the captive's door? "What! servants of thy own Merciful Son, who came to seek and save The homeless and the outcast, fettering down The tasked and plundered slave! "Pilate and Herod friends! Chief priests and rulers, as of old, combine! Just God and holy! is that church which lends Strength to the spoiler thine?" The Christianity of America is a Christianity, of whose votaries it may be as truly said, as it was of the ancient scribes and Pharisees, "They bind heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. All their works they do for to be seen of men. — They love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, . . . . . . and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. — But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers; therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. — Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint, and anise, and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith; these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides! which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but within, they are full of extortion and excess. — Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity." Dark and terrible as is this picture, I hold it to be strictly true of the overwhelming mass of professed Christians in America. They strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Could any thing be more true of our churches? They would be shocked at the proposition of fellowshipping a sheep-stealer; and at the same time they hug to their communion a man-stealer, and brand me with being an infidel, if I find fault with them for it. They attend with Pharisaical strictness to the outward forms of religion, and at the same time neglect the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith. They are always ready to sacrifice, but seldom to show mercy. They are they who are represented as professing to love God whom they have not seen, whilst they hate their brother whom they have seen. They love the heathen on the other side of the globe. They can pray for him, pay money to have the Bible put into his hand, and missionaries to instruct him; while they despise and totally neglect the heathen at their own doors. Such is, very briefly, my view of the religion of this land; and to avoid any misunderstanding, growing out of the use of general terms, I mean by the religion of this land, that which is revealed in the words, deeds, and actions, of those bodies, north and south, calling themselves Christian churches, and yet in union with slaveholders. It is against religion, as presented by these bodies, that I have felt it my duty to testify. I conclude these remarks by copying the following portrait of the religion of the south, (which is, by communion and fellowship, the religion of the north,) which I soberly affirm is "true to the life," and without caricature or the slightest exaggeration. It is said to have been drawn, several years before the present anti-slavery agitation began, by a northern Methodist preacher, who, while residing at the south, had an opportunity to see slaveholding morals, manners, and piety, with his own eyes. "Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord. Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?" "A PARODY. "Come, saints and sinners, hear me tell How pious priests whip Jack and Nell, And women buy and children sell, And preach all sinners down to hell, And sing of heavenly union.
"They'll bleat and baa, dona like goats,
Gorge down black sheep, and strain at motes,
Array their backs in fine black coats,
Then seize their negroes by their throats,
And choke, for heavenly union.
"They'll church you if you sip a dram,
And damn you if you steal a lamb;
Yet rob old Tony, Doll, and Sam,
Of human rights, and bread and ham;
Kidnapper's heavenly union.
"They'll loudly talk of Christ's reward,
And bind his image with a cord,
And scold, and swing the lash abhorred,
And sell their brother in the Lord
To handcuffed heavenly union.
"They'll read and sing a sacred song,
And make a prayer both loud and long,
And teach the right and do the wrong,
Hailing the brother, sister throng,
With words of heavenly union.
"We wonder how such saints can sing,
Or praise the Lord upon the wing,
Who roar, and scold, and whip, and sting,
And to their slaves and mammon cling,
In guilty conscience union.
"They'll raise tobacco, corn, and rye,
And drive, and thieve, and cheat, and lie,
And lay up treasures in the sky,
By making switch and cowskin fly,
In hope of heavenly union.
"They'll crack old Tony on the skull,
And preach and roar like Bashan bull,
Or braying ass, of mischief full,
Then seize old Jacob by the wool,
And pull for heavenly union.
"A roaring, ranting, sleek man-thief,
Who lived on mutton, veal, and beef,
Yet never would afford relief
To needy, sable sons of grief,
Was big with heavenly union.
"'Love not the world,' the preacher said,
And winked his eye, and shook his head;
He seized on Tom, and Dick, and Ned,
Cut short their meat, and clothes, and bread,
Yet still loved heavenly union.
"Another preacher whining spoke
Of One whose heart for sinners broke:
He tied old Nanny to an oak,
And drew the blood at every stroke,
And prayed for heavenly union.
"Two others oped their iron jaws,
And waved their children-stealing paws;
There sat their children in gewgaws;
By stinting negroes' backs and maws,
They kept up heavenly union.
"All good from Jack another takes,
And entertains their flirts and rakes,
Who dress as sleek as glossy snakes,
And cram their mouths with sweetened cakes;
And this goes down for union." Sincerely and earnestly hoping that this little book may do something toward throwing light on the American slave system, and hastening the glad day of deliverance to the millions of my brethren in bonds — faithfully relying upon the power of truth, love, and justice, for success in my humble efforts — and solemnly pledging my self anew to the sacred cause, — I subscribe myself,
Essentially the "civil libertarian" "free speech" industry line is "We must allow the Nazis to freely propagandize for Nazism, lest all our liberty perish". In another common and empty slogan, "If they can silence the Nazis they can silence us, too." In that latter case the "us" was, quite often, the red fascists of Marxism on whose behalf I think a lot of this nonsense was developed.
But that's a game of chance most often played by straight, white, affluent, males in groups which aren't targeted by Nazis and their allies in anti-egalitarian, anti-democratic hate groups. It is a game of chance played by white, affluent, professionals in the law, the judiciary and the media with the lives of those who are targeted by them. They are, also, largely, males, as well. And their choice to enable hate speech has already been being paid off with the stakes they put up. As I read this morning, Rachel Maddow, who I would guess, as a media person probably support the "absolutist" line in such things, gave a long list of incidents in which people were murdered by American Nazis and their allies in past terror incidents. Allowing Nazis to propagate has already resulted in such people losing most of if not all of their rights. Mostly the targets are not rich, white, straight, males, though in this game of chance, they can get killed just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
And, since, with the imposition of Donald Trump on the country, Nazis and fascists are already in the government, at the highest levels. That paid off for the haters in the game described above, too.
They're winning And with that win the "lest all our liberty perish" is happening THROUGH THE FREE SPEECH ABSOLUTISM THAT CREATED DONALD TRUMP AND ALLOWED HIM TO PUT NAZIS IN THE WHITE HOUSE. He's put a white supremacist in charge of the Justice Department, he's choosing judges and Supreme Court "justices" right now. You don't have to wait for some imaginary future to see the result of allowing lies to put Nazis and fascists into power, from where they can errode all of those liberties the ACLU, Joel Gora act claimed to be protecting, BECAUSE THEY GOT THERE THROUGH THE MEDIA BEING ALLOWED TO LIE THEM INTO POWER, LAST YEAR.
That whole thing was given the test of time since 1964 when the Sullivan decision was issued, the history of American politics since then has been a steady move, through Nixon, Reagan, the two Bushes, through ever worse Supreme Court majorities which have destroyed equality and democracy, sustaining the worst of race-based denial of the vote - mostly for Black People, Latinos and other popular targets of American Nazism but that trend is continuing and can be expected to expand to other groups. That is a product of that absolutist interpretation of "free speech" and other item in the Bill of Rights.
The kind of thing we saw in Charlottesville over the weekend can become normalized, just as the series of American Nazi and fascist hate crime and murders enumerated by Rachel Maddow has become normalized, just as the incidents of mass gun violence - some of them inspired by Nazi and other malignant media consumed by the murderers - has become normalized in the United States under the interpretation of the Second Amendment by the same courts as have empowered Nazis and fascists and other opportunistic liars in the media. Don't kid yourself that the reaction to what happened in Charlottesville is a turn in the road that is guaranteed to lead away from the further empowerment of Nazis, because we're a country in which the media lied the attack on the kindergarten and early grade school children at Sandy Hook into a political and legal non-entity and a "conspiracy theory" and a "false flag" incident. If the media liars empowered by the ACLU, the "free speech, free press" industry can do that, don't put all your money on the claim that the outrageous display at Charlottesville - also under legal protection given it by the courts at the behest of the ACLU - is some kind of watershed for egalitarian democracy that will go in the right direction.
Is there anything sadder than for a has-been blogger of 45 to be waxing nostalgically over the time, long past, when he'd get asked to be a cabloid talking head? I read it. It's for want of a better word, bathetic. I will agree with one thing he said, he's one of the friggin' laziest people on the putatively lefty blogosphere. I'd ignore him completely if he didn't host people who lie about me. It's the only reason I ever mention him. There isn't any other reason to, by his own choice. Maybe he likes the attention. Update: I can't believe this is still going on but, really, I don't care what David Derbes says, he's got the typical sci-guy's attitude to history, that it doesn't matter. No one who still goes to Eschaton on a regular basis, now, is really interested in the truth, they go there to reinforce their prejudices.